July 12, 2005 12:02 PM PDT
EU antitrust officials raid Intel
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what investigators have come up with and what is being accused...before they contact" authorities with an explanation.
In most cases, investigators search through hard-copy documents and computer files, the source noted.
An AMD spokesman praised the Commission's raid.
"The strong steps taken by the European Commission today shows Intel cannot escape the scrutiny of antitrust officials around the world, nor the consequences of anticompetitive actions," said Mike Simonoff, an AMD spokesman.
A history of disputes
AMD filed its suit against Intel on June 24. A few days later, AMD Japan filed suit against Intel K.K., the chip giant's Japanese unit.
But AMD's recent lawsuits are only the latest battle the company has waged with Intel, and the smaller chipmaker in fact urged the European Commission to look at its rival. AMD complained to European antitrust regulators five years ago, alleging that Intel was engaging in "abusive" marketing programs. But the investigation remained relatively quiet for a couple of years.
AMD filed a new complaint with the Commission last year, and after a raid of Intel's offices by Japanese officials as part of a separate inquiry, European antitrust regulators said they were taking a close look at Intel and sent out 64 letters of inquiry to computer makers and retailers.
Japanese officials had made the findings of their raid available to antitrust agencies in other countries.
Intel reached an agreement a few months ago with Japan's Fair Trade Commission, which called on the chip giant to stop requiring PC makers to limit the use of competitors' chips in exchange for discounts. Intel agreed to abide by the recommendations, though the company said it disagreed with the agency's findings and conclusions.
Also last year, European officials said they would investigate the practice of some member states' procurement policies, which restricted computer purchases to only those that used Intel chips.
Graeme Wearden and Matt Loney of ZDNet UK contributed to this report.
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